Roots and Connections: Article

This article describes a culturally integrated approach to teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL) through Roots and Connections: A Culturally Integrated ESL Curriculum for Community Orientation in Alberta.

This was developed by the Centre for Intercultural Education to integrate intercultural sensitivity into English-language instruction. Based on a Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) approach to language development, it integrates supported community connections and cultural knowledge to provide effective early social integration supports through survival-level language development. This resource is a response to community needs determined through the Rural ESL Enhancement Project. Many rural communities in Alberta were struggling to support the needs of increasingly culturally diverse newcomers, including language programming, settlement services for newcomers, and intercultural sensitivity for community-service providers. This called for a culturally integrated resource in which the content, process, and instructor supports were intentionally designed to meet survival language needs and to develop intercultural sensitivity among all participants, in the service of broader community integration goals. This project demonstrates the enhanced effectiveness of EAL programming that explicitly engages the diversity of its learners using intercultural communication processes and supports the adoption of a culturally integrated approach to other kinds of part- and full-time EAL programming.